spunk

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

1530, blend of spark and funk (obsolete, spark).

Funk (spark, touchwood) is from Middle English funke, fonke (spark), from Old English *funce, *fanca (spark), from Proto-Germanic *funkô, *fankô (spark), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)peng-, *(s)pheng- (to shine), and is akin to Middle Low German funke, fanke (spark), Middle Dutch vonke (spark), Old High German funcho, funko (spark), German Funke (spark).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

spunk (usually uncountable, plural spunks)

  1. (countable, obsolete) A spark.
    • 1886, Robert Louis Stevenson, Kidnapped, 2009, page 109,
      [] That′s none such an entirely bad little man, yon little man with the red head,” said Alan. “He has some spunks of decency.”
  2. (uncountable) Touchwood; tinder.
    • 1646, Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, II.5:
      Spunk, or Touch-wood prepared, might perhaps make it Russet: and some, as Beringuccio affirmeth, have promised to make it Red.
  3. (countable, chiefly Scotland, obsolete) A piece of tinder, sometimes impregnated with sulphur; a match.
    • 1829, Society for Relief of the Destitute Sick (Edinburgh), Report, page 7,
      At present, her only means of procuring subsistence for herself and children, is by making spunks or matches, which, either she or her eldest child, a girl about six years of age, sells from door to door.
    • 1843, John Wilson, John Gibson Lockhart, William Maginn, James Hogg, The Noctes Ambrosianæ of “Blackwood”, Volume IV, page 396,
      Spunksspunksspunks — who will buy my spunks?” — cried an errant voice with a beseeching earnestness [] .
  4. (uncountable) Courage; spirit; mettle; determination.
    • 1920 August, Edward Leonard, Old Zeke′s Mule, Boys′ Life, 55,
      “I reckon I′m as good as a mule,” he declared. “Maria knows what that desert is as well as we do, but she′s got more spunk than either of us. I'm not going to let any mule show more spunk than me.”
    • 1991, Lindsey Hanks, (copyright Linda Chesnutt, Georgia Pierce), Long Texas Night, Zebra Books, US, page 26,
      “You've got spunk, missy, I′ll have to say that for you. Maybe with your spunk and my good looks we can get this place in shape again.”
      It was Sarah′s turn to laugh.
    • For more examples of usage of this term, see the citations page.
  5. (countable, UK, Australia, New Zealand, slang) An attractive person (normally male).
    • 2005, Sue Austin, Women′s Aggressive Fantasies: A Post-Jungian Exploration of Self-Hatred, Love and Agency, Routledge, UK, page 166,
      We are welcomed by 20 year old spunks, as we make a last valiant attempt with our bodies - gasp, gasp - and try to get back in shape.
  6. (uncountable, UK, vulgar, slang) Semen.
    • 2007, Debra Hyde, Kidnapped, Violet Blue (editor), Lust: Erotic Fantasies for Women, 2010, ReadHowYouWant, page 188,
      It was runny stuff and, as she felt Brain loosen his hold on the drawstrings, Cackle's spunk dripped onto the shelf of her chin.

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

spunk (third-person singular simple present spunks, present participle spunking, simple past and past participle spunked)

  1. (slang, vulgar) To ejaculate.

Anagrams[edit]